I am a lawyer, and in the last 10 years I have represented homeowners facing foreclosures. It is really bad in New Jersey. Wall Street created this big problem with people getting loans they should have never gotten, and the banks didn’t really care if the people could afford their mortgages. When the real estate market tanked, all kinds of people ended up in foreclosure. One year alone there were 50,000 foreclosures just in New Jersey. At this point in time we still have a lot of people in foreclosure. I think now we are the number one state in terms of the amount of foreclosures we have in a year.
“People I represent, they do not wake up one day and decide, ‘I am not going to pay the mortgage this month.’ No, what happens is they suddenly face unforeseen illnesses, or job loss, or a death in the family…. I have seen some sad things. I had families with a lot of kids, from ages 3 to 18, all in school, who had to lose their home. How do you tell your kids that they are no longer able to live in the home they are growing up in? I have had people in advanced stages of cancer, people with mental illness who really did not even know what was going on. The whole process is undignified. But unfortunately it is what it is, if you don’t pay your bills, you lose your home.
When people are given loans they don’t necessarily question ‘If I don’t have the same income as I do now in a few years, what is going to happen? Can I afford this?’ But if the bank is giving you a loan, people think they can afford it – and at that time they probably can – but all of that is neither here nor there. Most of the loans that get foreclosed on are adjustable loans, and the rates get adjusted to where the people couldn’t afford them anymore. I have cases where loans of half a million dollars were given out to people making 30,000 dollars a year. I think that banks need to be discouraged at a Federal level from making bad loans to people that obviously cannot afford them.
For me, my job is to help these people. I have been able to help some of these people stay in their homes for a long time, and some of them were able to get their finances in order and keep their homes. I have helped many people, thankfully. It’s why I do what I do. I do this because I was raised to have a lot of empathy for people who are struggling. It is just in my personality. There is not a lot of money in this, but unfortunately, there is a lot of volume, a lot of people facing foreclosures. It is enjoyable, yet heartbreaking. Unfortunately, this is a crisis.
~ Point Pleasant